Pack your walking boots and head for the hills – I’ve picked nine of the best hiker-friendly hotels to escape to around the world, from brilliant budget stays to blowout treats, but all just steps from some of the most amazing walking trails on the planet.
Nine of the best hiking hotels around the world
1. CANADA: ASSINIBOINE LODGE
It may be 16 miles from the nearest road but Assiniboine in British Columbia still manages to offer old-timey charm and a warm welcome. First built in 1928, the lodge reckons it was North America’s first backcountry lodge and we’d argue that it is one of the best. Expect cabin-style rooms and tons of tasty food to fuel your hike, including everything you need to make your own picnic lunch. Popular with the ski crowd in winter, in summer Assiniboine is the starting point for more marked trails than you could ever hike, through alpine meadows, past pristine lakes, into the foothills of Mount Assiniboine or towards Banff – or the hosts can also let you in on secret off-piste trails if you fancy something really remote.
Price: Doubles from £177
2, MOROCCO: KASBAH DU TOUKBAL
Time to rock the Kasbah. Set at 1,820 metres on the flanks of its namesake Toukbal mountain in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains, just waking up at this palatial hotel, once the home of a Berber chief, will have you itching to conquer the white-capped peaks you can see from your window. There are day hikes straight from the door to suit all levels, or if you want to leave the walking logistics to someone else, the Kasbah offer different trekking packages including ascents of Mount Toukbal at 4,167 metres (on a clear day you can see all the way to the Sahara) with stays in their higher altitude and equally gorgeous trekking lodge.
Price: Doubles from £157 per night
3, ICELAND: HOTEL RANGÁ
It doesn’t get cosier than this wooden lodge in the heart of the glacially-formed hills of southern Iceland, an hour from Reykjavik. The only tough decision to make is whether you fancy visiting in winter, when snow covers the ground and there’s a chance of spotting the aurora borealis in the sky, or summer, when Iceland’s volcanic landscape is a hiker’s dream. Trek to the iconic Eyjafjallajökull volcano or roam the empty hills around Rangá, then bed down in the hotel’s slightly kitsch but charming bedrooms or chill out in a hot tub under the stars.
Price: Doubles from £250 per night
4, NORWAY: UNION OYE
If you pictured a fairy-tale hillside hotel suitable as a location for a Disney flick it would look exactly like Union Oye – a wedding cake of a chalet in the Norwegian fjords complete with balconies, turrets and an epic mountain backdrop. Rooms and food are as traditional and charming as you’d expect from a hotel that has been loved by famous walkers such as Karen Blixen and explorer Roald Amundsen since 1891. There are challenging hikes and easy rambles alike in the surrounding hills, from conquering Slogen’s peak high above the fjords to wandering in Norangsdalen’s lush green valley. Or come in winter for a snowshoeing trip into a winter wonderland.
Price: Doubles from £128 per night
5, WALES: PEN-Y-GWRYD
Walk in the footsteps of greatness from the door of Pen-Y-Gwryd – this rather old-fashioned hotel in Snowdonia is where Sir Edmund Hillary, Tenzing Norgay and their team trained for the first successful ascent of Mount Everest in 1953. And it feels charmingly like not much has changed since then. Lace up boots to climb nearby Snowdon itself, ramble the mountain ranges surrounding the hotel or try a spot of rock climbing before coming home to a roaring fire and a pint in the hotel bar, where there’s a little shrine dedicated to the brave Everest team. Our best on a budget.
Price: £47.50 per person per night
6, SCOTLAND: KINLOCH LODGE HOTEL
The Isle of Skye’s two mountain ranges – Trotternish and Cuillin – are beautiful but rugged places where black rocks straight out of the Lord of the Rings rise high above puny hikers and where the weather can close in on even the balmiest day. If you’ve been out hiking in the Scottish elements or wild camping for a week and fancy swapping your tent for a spot of comfort, head for this deliciously comfortable country house hotel. Kinloch is spendy but worth the splurge for the pleasure of nursing a whisky by a warm fire. Hike straight up into the hills that sit behind the hotel, or go searching for supper on one of their foraging walks.
Price: Doubles from £240 per night
7. NEPAL: HOTEL EVEREST VIEW
The highest hotel in the world at 3,962 metres, Everest View does exactly what it says on the tin. There are just twelve rooms at this simple but comfortable hotel, all offering possibly the most mesmerising view on the planet – that of the sun rising and setting over coveted Everest herself. Food is surprisingly amazing at these great heights, too. Just staying here in the Sagarmatha national park means you’re acclimatising to altitude, making the hotel perfect as a base for challenging but rewarding treks to nearby monasteries and Sherpa villages. Even arriving is epic – you can choose either to helicopter in or trek in from Namche Bazaar.
Price: Doubles from £126 per night
8. ITALY: RIFUGIO LAGAZUOI
This is not your average mountain refuge. Open for both the winter and the summer seasons, this lofty wooden lodge looks rather precariously perched on a peak right next to Lagazuoi mountain at 2,835 metres. Inside are homey wooden bedrooms with balconies looking over the hills. There’s something for every kind of walker here – follow the short trail to the mountain’s summit, take a night hike to see a sky full of stars or trek past trenches and through tunnels that were once lifelines for the Italian army during WWI. The very best bit of the refuge is the incredible sauna – the highest in the Dolomites, and with a panoramic view of the peaks, there’s no better place to rest tired hiking legs.
Price: Twin rooms from £95, dorm rooms £38 per person
9. AMERICA: THE HIKE INN
Cute name for a seriously lovely lodge. This is Hike Inn by both name and nature, as it takes a five-mike trek through the foothills of North Georgia to reach this backcountry lodge. The surrounding Amicalola Falls State Park is a walker’s paradise – the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail runs past the door and Springer Mountain is a day hike away. The lodge also offers wildflower and photography walks. Food is served family-style around a big table and rooms are private but in a simple bunkhouse-style. The inn is a non-profit and eco-friendly endeavour – there are no plugs and mobile phones are discouraged. This is all about hiking and living off the grid.
Price: Twin room from £95